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- Lost in Post-Reality, January 1999
The national entertainment state threatens to transmogrify American life into a soap opera.
- "Ready, Read!", November 1998
A new solution to the problem of failing public schools is emerging: takeover by outside authorities, who prescribe a standardized field-tested curriculum. This runs counter to our long-standing tradition of autonomy for local schools and teachers, but it works.
- The Reading Wars, November 1997
An old disagreement over how to teach children to read -- whole-language versus phonics -- has re-emerged in California, in a new form.
- Kicking In Groups, April
Just as intriguing as Robert Putnam's theory that we are "bowling alone" --
that the bonds of civic association are dissolving -- is how readily the
theory has been accepted.
- The Great Sorting,
The first mass administrations of a scholastic-aptitude test led with surprising
speed to thd idea that the nation's leaders would be the people who did well
- The Structure of Success in
America, August 1995
In America perhaps only race is a more sensitive subject than the
way we sort ourselves out in the struggle for success. At the center
of that struggle are higher education and ETS, the Educational
Testing Service. Herewith an inside look at the history and
workings of one of the most familiar yet least public of American institutions.
Black Nationalism on Campus, January 1993
Conversations with students at Penn and Temple show that black
nationalism and assimilation are not the opposites they appear to be.
- The Other
Underclass, December 1991
Most people think of inner-city poverty as a black phenomenon. But it is
also alarmingly high among Puerto Ricans, the worst-off ethnic group in
the country--even though Puerto Rico itself has made great progress
against poverty and there is a growing Puerto Rican middle-class on the
- The Unfinished War [Part 1],
A product of the conflicting ambitions of the men who shaped it, the War
on Poverty was ill-fated--but its fate need not be that of all anti-poverty
- The Unfinished War [Part 2],
An inside look at how personal enmity, political calculation, and policy
misjudgments prevented any effective prosecution of the War on Poverty
by either Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon.
- The Origins of the
Underclass [Part 1], June 1986
The flight of middle-class blacks from ghettos has left a disastrously
isolated underclass--one formed less by welfare or a lack of jobs than by
its rural-South heritage.
- The Origins of the Underclass
[Part 2], July 1986
Black urban ghettos are poorer and more isolated today than they have ever
been. The question remaining is how to reverse the effects of what has
become a self-sustaining culture.
- The Campaign
Doctors, October 1985
"For many years there was a strong argument political reporters could
make to justify their surrender to the tides pulling them into the day-to day
details of campaign strategy: these were in fact what mattered most. The
presidential elections of the fifties, sixties, and seventies were seen as
essentially non-ideological. When two centrists ran, it was close; when a
true believer like Barry Goldwater or George McGovern got into the race,
it was a runaway. So the pros' vantage point was the best one from which
to view an election: how well they did their jobs really would determine
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